Which we celebrate as the day we declared our independence from England—although the Continental Congress actually voted that historic approval on July 2nd---the 4th was the date they signed their names to the formal document after it was officially inscribed for the members.
So while we enjoy this most important day for us, let it be noted a lot of our history isn’t accurate and even more Americans aren’t truly familiar with it.
Take “Yankee Doodle”—a song our troops sang as they slowly, thru great hardship, won the Revolution against the greatest army in the world. It was actually a song originated by the Brits, in derision of the Yanks, and as for “macaroni”—as in “stuck a feather in his cap and called it...” that word referred to a gay person in those days, a further insult to the Minutemen.
(all this from a fascinating article in the Sunday NY Times. If you wish to read more, and I hope you will, see “That Diss song known as Yankee Doodle.”
Another Sunday Times article by the well known English actor Stephen Frye argues our usual view of “Mad King George” as a tyrant isn’t right at all. We often overlook that many in the British Parliament supported the “Colonies” or that our famed Bill of Rights came, in large measure, from that body’s Bill of Rights of 1689---a century before our own.
We Americans are often woefully ignorant of our own history, or our friends and neighbors. A Canadian TV special, in 2001, asked Americans a lot of questions that often exposed our ignorance of our Northern neighbor. No, Canadians do not get rid of their elders by putting them to die on ice floes (!!). Nor does Canada have a “national igloo” as a symbol, as one of our presidential candidates indicated. And when some of us were asked whether the US “should be bombing Saskatchewan," we replied “absolutely”—confusing that Canadian province with---who knows what foreign land. (But then, in several wars the US has sought to invade Canada, most notably the War of 1812, when many Kentuckians found themselves fighting north of our borders.)
So on this 4th of July holiday, let me hope my fellow citizens will “highly resolve” to learn a lot more about our world today, for ignorance is not bliss in 2017, and may well lead to wars that are as unnecessary as they are unproductive.
May the “world’s greatest country” truly understand its own history, and share our “blessings of liberty and freedom” with all the world...in peace.
I'm just sayin'...